My personal version of “Car Week”
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
Monterey has “Car Week” every August. Never been. It’s on my bucket list as an enthusiast. Sometime after I’m no longer a zone rep, I’ll get there. For now, in an effort to manage domestic tranquility, I need to be very careful how much time I put into auto-enthusiasm. Commitments to the “job” have me on the road a bit supporting PCA. Adding additional “non-PCA” car stuff to the calendar typically requires a calculated approach and some forethought into the anticipated “but why would I be interested in that?” question. So when HER friends were arranging for us to join a week-long June walking tour of London, I was pleased that this vacation would help balance things out. But then Julie asked, “Do you really want to travel all that way and spend just 7 days? So with a limit of about 12 days as a total trip length, due to a desire for Max the Berne-doodle to recognize us on our return, we looked for a 3-4 day additional excursion to “add on” to the London trip. Portugal? Italy? Southern Spain? Nope, not enough time to do any of them justice. Soooo……I meekly suggested, “what if we went to Stuttgart and hit the Porsche factory”. Expecting to maybe get smacked, I was shocked at the resoundingly positive response. As it turns out, a trip to the Ford F-150 factory near Dearborn a few years back had left a very positive impression. Who knew? And so, perhaps pushing my luck, I asked “what if we spent 3-days and also hit the Mercedes, BMW and Porsche museums as well?” AND…fly into Munich and do a bit of Autobahn driving, too? Sold! The trip was ON!
Despite living in Europe and traveling often to the UK at the time, I never really visited the core of London, particularly near Hyde Park. To my delight, this “car week” started unexpectedly before we got to Germany. While Julie and friends were taking in towers, castles, bridges, round theatres, plays, cathedrals, abbeys and funny buses, I was gawking at every possible sub-model of frustratingly traffic-stifled Lambos, Jaguars, McLaren’s, Rollers, Bentleys, Maybachs, Ferraris, and AMGs. There were even some of ‘our own’ rather pedestrian (by comparison) Porsche 992s already roaming the streets.
Then it was off to Germany. Needless to say we hit all 3 museums in four days and also did the Porsche factory tour at Zuffenhausen. Thanks to a well-informed recommendation by Chris Lennon in the Alpine Mountain Region, we stayed at Schloss-Hotel Monrepos. It’s located on a beautiful estate not far from Zuffenhausen. Just idyllic.
But wait- the ‘week’ was not over. Back in March, I received an email from Vu Nguyen, Executive Director of PCA, asking if I might be able to provide help to Porsche Cars of North America, for an event they were planning in Salt Lake City. It turns out that they had chosen the Grand America Hotel (site of the 2012 Porsche Parade for those that may have attended) and the Utah Motorsports Campus as the host hotel and road course respectively, for dealer product launch training on the 8th generation 911,- the 992. Long story short- PCNA was looking to borrow one nice example of a 911 from each of the first seven generations. The cars were to be displayed in a secure ballroom, from mid-June through mid-July. The goal of the display was to showcase the evolution of the 911 during a dramatic “reveal” of the new 992. After lots of phone calls and some arm twisting, we arranged all 7 prior generations from some very generous PCA members here in Utah. In return PCNA graciously invited those owners as well as me, to attend their training sessions. Needless to say, those two training days happened immediately upon my return from Germany, at the end of June. I’m not sure which was more impressive, the training sessions themselves or the new 992. But needless to say, the entire program was run in an extremely professional manner. Special thanks to all the PCA members who gave up your cars for a month. You know who you are.
I’m still looking forward to Monterey Car week some year. But I’m not sure how to top my own “car week” of June 2019!
South of the Rockies, and north of the border!!!
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
This is the third in a series of three monthly letters which collectively highlight all of the geography in PCA’s Zone 9. Our May letter highlighted the Front Range, east of the Rockies. June addressed my home geography west of the Rockies. This issue will introduce those of you not familiar, to our regions “south of the Rockies”.
Prior to this role, I had no reason to ponder where the Rocky Mountains came to an end as you head south. In 2017, when I took this zone rep “job”, I would not have guessed that a majority of the regions were neither east nor west of those mountains, but instead, south of them. Now that I’ve flown over and driven around them, I get it.
Anyway, the four regions located “south of the Rockies” are Roadrunner, Carrera, Llano Estacado, and West Texas. The largest among them is the Roadrunner region, with around 450 primary members. That’s just about the same as their neighboring Alpine Mountain Region to the north. Likewise, neighboring Carrera and West Texas regions are just about in a dead heat when it comes to membership at 90 and 89 primary members, respectively. Finally the Llano Estacado region based out of Amarillo, Texas is our beloved mini-region. Those of us “up north” might ask why the numbers drop off so much as we head south and east? There’s no big science to it. The most obvious is population. There are simply fewer potential owners. But you still have to have clubs close to the members. But beyond population, I’m certain that there are other contributing factors to the smaller club sizes. There are lots of “Porschey” things that you find a lot more of, in and around the larger Rocky mountain metro areas, that you don’t find as much of, in the more southern and eastern regions. Chief among these are Porsche dealers, race tracks, and an abundance of “Porsche roads”. Among these four regions, there was only ONE Porsche dealership until earlier this year with the opening of Porsche of El Paso. In terms of race tracks within the geographic boundaries, there are really only two available to the clubs among the four regions. Curvy Porsche roads? Well actually, there are lots of them, but they require significantly more straight-line driving to get to them from the location of the core membership in each region.
But the key point to illustrating these differences is to say that, based on my observations, members “south of the Rockies” have the same car culture enthusiasm, strong friendships, and every bit as much fun as their northern Zone 9 counterparts. Carrera region puts on their Oktoberfiesta, a 3-day track, autocross and tour event through the mountains of Western New Mexico. If you haven’t been, I recommend it. The West Texas region’s holiday party is like none other in the zone. They combine it with a multi-day drive to get to some Porsche roads in the hills. This combined annual celebration seems to be at a new location each year. Is it possible to have too much fun??? As well, they just landed (pun intended) an even bigger autocross venue at a military airstrip. And they open their arms to other car clubs to join their events. Roadrunner region opens up their autocross events to lots of non-Porsches as well. And when it come to the percent of membership that attends socials, I have no doubt that the Roadrunner Region tops every other medium to large sized region in the zone. They are an engaged crowd. And as many know the Roadrunner Region has been host to a last year’s national “Treffen Tamiya” and has hosted their own “Fiesta New Mexico” several dozen times. Finally, tiny, Llano Estacado region has weekly and monthly breakfast gatherings that are nothing less than their own local tradition. I’ve enjoyed getting to know lots of volunteers and leaders from these regions.
Shots From Around The Zone:
West of the Rockies!!!
by Rich Sanders – Zone 9 Rep
I grew up in various eastern seaboard states, spent most of my working years in the mid-west, and am now “retired” to the mountain west. With each move you are faced with lots of new terminology both regional and local. Zone 9 PCA covers both sides of the Rocky Mountain range from the Bonneville Salt Flats to the West and the Colorado Plains to the East. From North to South, our regions span from the Idaho to the Mexico border. The spine down the middle of much of the zone is the Rocky Mountains. Coloradoans along the east edge of the Rockies say they live on the “front range”. But here in Salt Lake City we say that we live along the “Wasatch front”- the west side of the local Wasatch Range. Oddly, those living on the east side, deeper into the Rockies, refer to their location as the “Wasatch back”. This month’s “In the Zone” is all about the Wasatch front, my local turf, and home to the only region in the zone to be completely located west of the Rockies.
Spats of winter weather have continued to tease the arrival of spring here in Utah. Our first off-road tour of 2019, was changed to a paved road tour due to roads not yet open due to conditions. I guess the good news is that lots more participants joined the tour with their low clearance Porsches. Called the “Pony Express Tour”, members of IRPCA made stops at various points along the original Pony Express route. The tour finished up at the Bonneville Brewery just south of the famous lake- in a town called “Tooele”. Remember I mentioned the local terminology. Well Tooele is found just west of the Oquirrh Mountains. Yeah…just try to pronounce either one these. Here’s a tutorial. Tooele = too-ill’-ah. Oquirrh = Oak’-er! Welcome to the Wasatch Front!
We got lucky on May 3 and 4, with our first track days at Utah Motorsports Campus. PERFECT weather! We were delighted to welcome drivers from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, COLORADO, and even as far as Mexico City! We had lots of new first time PCA members, several of which are hooked and heading down the slippery slope. If you are reading this and you are from east, or south of the Rockies, we really want you guys to come have some fun at UMC (formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park). It’s a fantastic facility with four track configurations, ranging from 2.1 to over 4 miles. Great facilities, with grandstands and rental day garages. If you’ve not come this direction for a track event, please consider joining us in the future. Our calendar can be found at www.irpca.org.
I’ve learned in traveling throughout the zone that we have stellar Porsche dealerships wherever I go. The Intermountain region is no different. We get fantastic support from both dealers in the region- Porsche of Lehi and Porsche Salt Lake City. So while I’m focused on my “home” region this month, I want to call your attention to the current issue of Panorama (#746). There’s a special 3 page article on Larry Moulton and Randy Yates. Larry and Randy are Porsche Master Technicians who collectively share 88 years of employment at Porsche Salt Lake City. Larry, at 74 years of age and with 53 years with the dealer, was recently awarded the “Technician Tenure Award” at a special ceremony. The award was presented personally by Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO, of Porsche Cars North America. A special IRPCA Cars and Coffee is being organized here in early June to allow club members to also recognize Larry for his tenure and accomplishments. I expect that many of our long time PCA members will have some fun stories to tell about their interactions over the years. Congratulations to Larry and Randy for their tenure working on Porsche Cars, and also to Porsche Salt Lake City, for being THAT kind of employer!
Up next month- “South of the Rockies”- a focus on the lower third of the zone.
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